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  • Real name : Dana Michelle Plato
  • Date of birth : 07/11/1964
  • Date of death : 08/05/1999

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  • Plato Dana

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Dana Plato (1964)

Dana Michelle Plato

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  Summary  

Dana Michelle Plato (November 7, 1964 – May 8, 1999) was an American actress notable for playing the role of Kimberly Drummond in the U.S. television sitcom Diff'rent Strokes.

Plato appeared in over 100 television commercials as a young girl. After Diff'rent Strokes, Plato's career declined, although she did get a role in Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, and small part in Exorcist II: The Heretic.

Plato died on May 8, 1999, Mother's Day, when police determined that she took an accidental drug overdose of the painkiller Lortab along with Valium.

  Biography  

 personal life
Plato began having drug and alcohol problems early in life. She admitted to drinking and using recreational drugs during her years on Diff'rent Strokes.

In December 1983, Plato moved in with rock guitarist Lanny Lambert; the couple married in April 24, 1984. On January 2, 1988, Plato's adoptive mother, Kay Plato, died, aged 49, from scleroderma. The same week, Plato and Lambert separated. The couple divorced in March 1990, and Lambert was awarded custody of their only child Tyler Edward (July 2, 1984 – May 6, 2010), with Plato having visitation rights. During this time, Plato posed nude for Playboy.

In 1991, Plato ended up in Las Vegas with no work. She took a job at a dry-cleaning store to support herself. On February 28, she entered a video store, produced a gun, and demanded the money from the register. The clerk called 911 saying, "I've just been robbed by the girl who played Kimberly on Diff'rent Strokes". Fifteen minutes after the robbery, Plato returned to the scene and was immediately arrested. The gun was only a pellet gun and the robbery netted Plato $164. Las Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton posted her $13,000 bail. Plato was given five years' probation. She made headlines and became part of the national debate over troubled child stars, particularly given the difficulties of her Diff'rent Strokes co-stars, Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges. In January 1992, she was again arrested, this time for forging a prescription for Diazepam. She served 30 days in jail for violation of the terms of her probation and entered a drug program immediately thereafter.

Following her appearance in the erotic film Different Strokes: The Story of Jack and Jill ... and Jill, Plato appeared on the cover of the lesbian lifestyle magazine Girlfriends in 1998. She was interviewed by Diane Anderson-Minshall and came out as a lesbian, although she later recanted. It was reported that Plato showed up drunk for the magazine's cover shoot.

In her interview with Howard Stern, Plato mentioned that the traumatic events of her mother’s death and her husband’s leaving her took place during the course of only a week. In desperation, she signed over power of attorney to an accountant who disappeared with the majority of her money, leaving her with no more than $150,000. She claimed that the accountant was never found, despite an exhaustive search, and had also stolen more than $11 million of other peoples' money. Just before her death, she and her fiancé, Robert Menchaca, were living in a recreation vehicle in Navarre, Florida.

 Final interview and death
On May 7, 1999, Plato appeared on The Howard Stern Show, where she told Stern and Robin Quivers that she was engaged to 28-year-old Robert Menchaca, and that he was managing her career. She was frank about her life, discussing her financial problems and past run-ins with the law. She admitted to being a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, but claimed that she had been sober for more than ten years by that point, and was not using any drugs, with the exception of prescribed painkillers due to discomfort and pain from the recent extraction of her wisdom teeth. Many of her callers called her everything from a "has been" to an addict. She was referred to by one caller as an "ex-con lesbian drug addict with mental problems". This provoked a defiant Plato, as she offered to take a drug test on the air . Some callers, however, as well as Stern himself, came to Plato's defense by consoling and complimenting her.

After the first three negative calls, a caller named Julie told Plato that she looked and sounded great, and could not fathom why people were attacking her the way they were, and although they were cruel to her, she was supportive. Plato wept while offering her gratitude, as well to a later caller who claimed to be a recovering addict, and told her that he believed everything she said. Other callers asked her relatively "neutral" (mostly Diff'rent Strokes related) questions, such as, "What happened to your kid?" "Did Todd break your arm on the set of Diff'rent Strokes?", "Have you ever had the opportunity of seeing Janet Jackson change during the taping of Diff'rent Strokes?" and, "I need a date with Dana!" at which Plato laughed. Stern later mentioned that she was scheduled to appear at a concert event, The Expo of the Extreme, in Chicago two weeks after the interview.

The next day, Plato and Menchaca were returning to California. The couple stopped at Menchaca's mother's home in Moore, Oklahoma, for a Mother's Day visit. Plato went to lie down inside her recreational vehicle parked outside the house and subsequently died of an overdose of Vanadom and Lortab. Her death at the age of 34 was eventually ruled a suicide under Oklahoma law although police stated they believed it was an accident. Her body was cremated.

 Son's death
Almost 11 years to the day of Dana Plato's death, on May 6, 2010, Plato's son Tyler Lambert died at age 25 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His grandmother, Joni Richardson, stated that Lambert was experimenting with both drugs and alcohol, which may have contributed to his suicide. Johnny Whitaker, Plato's former manager and a friend of the family, told ABCNews.com that Lambert always said he "wanted to be with Mom." "Mother's Day was always a difficult time, not only because it was Mother's Day but the anniversary of Dana's death," Whitaker said.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Dana Plato", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.